Home-Start Camden and Islington provides practical and emotional support to parents of children under five who are struggling to cope with everyday life. Parents are referred to our service for a range of reasons including, having experienced domestic abuse, mental health conditions, their or their child's physical health or disability and living in temporary or inappropriate accommodation. Almost all the families we work with are in financial hardship and we provide practical support and advice to alleviate the effects of poverty and disadvantage. all our families are supported by our trained volunteers who who offer peer support through home visits for 3-4 hours per week.
This funding will be used to fund our family emergency essentials scheme where we provide food vouchers, nappies, and essentials to some of the most vulnerable families in Camden and Islington. Most of our families face a multitude of complex challenges and issues related to disadvantage and as such are struggling financially and having to choose between basic essentials. The funding will support these families throughout the coming months especially as they are likely to feel even more pressure on their budgets considering the cuts to Universal Credit, rising fuel bills and the end of the furlough scheme. The impact will be to alleviate the present circumstances of families.
Home Start Camden & Islington are best placed to deliver this project because we have built trusting relationships with our families through our volunteers who spent 3/4 hours a week with the parents. In sharing the time and space the family are able to access support that they need and in specific situations the volunteers are able to provide the practical support and offer what is needed at the point of need. This can include the provision of access to our emergency food and clothing program. Overall the service is volunteer peer led support which within the early years arena is a unique model of delivery and is assessed on the needs of the family.
|core staff management cost||£1,000|
Camden and Islington are both areas where there is significant disadvantage and need for our service. This has increased following the Covid-19 crisis and lockdown for many groups of our beneficiaries. There is a significant need for family support services that provide community help and help with financial hardship in both Camden and Islington. In 2020, 43% of children in Camden were classed as living in poverty. Child poverty in Islington is at 47%, higher than the London average of 38% and slightly higher than the rate in Camden. Over the last 12 months we have supported 83 families with supermarket vouchers, and we know that this need is not going to decrease, particularly with rising fuel prices and the end of the Universal Credit uplift. One family told us “Providing me with the shopping vouchers were so helpful as I lost my job due to COVID-19band didn’t get another job for 6 months, so this really helped feed us…really made me feel cared for and not forgotten."
The pandemic has meant that we have had to be agile and flexible in our ways of working to ensure we can continue to meet the needs of the families. We have seen an increase in the number of families being referred to the service who are facing a wider range of complex issues. Although the number of referrals dropped during lockdown, due to reduced face-to-face work from our main referrers, the families who were referred to the service were those who the pandemic had the biggest impact on. We moved our service online and provided regular remote support when restrictions eased staff and volunteers began seeing families again in outdoor spaces and more recently from within their homes. Feedback form parents and families have emphasised how much the service continues to benefit them despite a reduction in face-to-face support: “I did not think I was worthy of help, but Home Start Camden showed me I am worthy – it has been a complete life-line.”